• The Gasman - The Grand Electric Palace Of Variety

    Reviewed by Matthew Ingram (The Wire)

    <b> The Gasman </b> - The Grand Electric Palace Of Variety

    Chris Reeves's latest release for Planet Mu is even in its weaker moments, unfailingly entertaining. The tropes introduced by The Aphex Twin through the 90s, which Reeves is unable to admit inform his work, are failsafe recipes for a solid listening experience - the breathy, helium synth stabs and tickling filigree of drums that characterize The Aphex Twin's billowing rave odysseys are powerfully seductive. Indeed there's nothing wrong with working within someone else's stylistic parameters; the result can stand or fall on its own merits regardless. Originally, as Simon Reynolds has argued, can be a greatly overatted quality in music. Still there is much that distinguishes The Gasman from his mentors. Most obviously his music doesn't have the forbidding sheen of that of Aphex or Mike Paradinas. Reeves opts for a rough-edged approximation full of homemade charm. Often sampling spools of classical music from reel-to-reel, he'll transform typically classical sonic gestures into their counterparts in the lexicon of rave music. For instance on "Imodium", where a few snaches of choral music are finger-triggered into an 'Ardkore fantasia or on "Fridge", where mournful concert piano vamps are set amid drill 'n' bass fidgeting. "Muzzle" is exquisite, rattling whirrling clicks take the drum's role in the foreground while the melody overs cumulo-nebulously on the track's horizon. Timbral invention is also writ large in "Dodgem" with its impressive resonant bassline. However too many tracks are cut from the same cloth and at times in Ambient mode things drag.

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